Monthly Archives: January 2016

The Right Exercise for Any Body

Namaste.

More Strong is the New Skinny—thank you again for this opportunity, Becca DuVal!

I am no fitness expert, but for my money yoga might just be the best all-round exercise programs for people of any age. If not the best, it certainly ranks right up there.

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I was slow to embrace yoga. Remember, running was more my style when I was younger. Frankly, it was hard to me to be “still and quiet” during my practice. I like to make most group experiences social opportunities, so not talking for an over an hour in a room full of people was ummm, challenging?

I think if you are open to new information and experiences, you actually DO get wiser as you get older. Now, yoga is a core part of my workout routine, and if I miss a practice or two, my body starts talking back to me. Complaining, actually. The older you get, the more you need to work on flexibility, balance and strength—all core components of yoga. I never used to have any difficulty with balance, but I am just not as steady on my feet as I was when I was younger. Almost everyone needs to improve their flexibility, and the wonderful stretching and gentle encouragement from instructors to press/push/pull a little more promotes openness in your muscles and joints.

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Oh, geez. My right foot position is not right in this pose. Better work on that. I love that “workouts” are called “practices” in yoga. Definitely reduces the perfectionist pressure. 😉 One thing I would recommend is that you take yoga classes with a good instructor for a while instead of attempting it on your own with a DVD. It is really helpful to have a trained instructor check on your poses and offer advice to correct your alignment. I still do the vast, vast majority of my yoga practice in a class with an instructor. You can talk AFTER class, you know! 🙂

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If you read my strength-training post the other day, I mentioned I have osteoarthritis in my hands, so that means I have to be careful about too many weight-bearing poses on my hands. It definitely bums me out that down dog is mostly out for me, but I alternate with some down puppy and cat-cow poses, and occasionally sneak in a down dog just because it feels so good. I was trying out the same new workout top, Jalie 2444 and pants, and the top is as great for yoga as strength training. Yay for dual-purpose clothing!

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Similar to swimming, yoga is one of those regimes that works for people of most ages and abilities. There are even instructors who have developed postures that work for people with pretty severe medical issues, so even if you have some challenges, you might be able to figure out a way to make yoga work for you. And I just love how stretched and toned I feel after a good yoga practice.

Namaste!

Maris

Getting Stronger at Any Age

Call me crazy, but I recently took up a fabulously fun new exercise regime—master swimming! It’s kind of like swim team for grown-ups. So when Becca of Free Notion invited bloggers to share a little about their fitness story, I was all in. Her theme, Strong is the New Skinny, sums it all up very nicely, doesn’t it?

Something I noticed right away during my swim workouts is I needed more muscle strength in order to swim faster and further. And something you may have noticed is I am not in my twenties any more. At least my physical body is not 20-something; not as sure about my mind. 😉

Back in the day when I was in my twenties and thirties, I was a pretty serious runner. It was during this phase that I learned how critical it is to build muscle mass and strength to power aerobic activity. Four children, several jobs, 2 household moves, semi-retirement, and 1 (soon to be 2!) grandchildren later, exercising in most forms had taken a back seat to life. Oh I kept up for a while, but over the past 5+ years my discipline has waned. Significantly.

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Last fall I decided I was tired of not feeling strong and energetic. I do not have any serious medical issues, and according to my doctor I am at a good BMI for my age. But I was really unhappy about feeling stiff, and frankly, weak. I wanted to reverse that trend! Because I now have a bit of osteoarthritis, I need an exercise routine that is gentle on my joints. I have always loved swimming, so that seemed like the place to start. I started just by swimming laps on my own, which has to be about the most boring exercise routine on the planet. But I kept it up until I could consistently swim at least 1 mile during my workout. Then I figured I could see if the master swimming program was a good fit for my interests and abilities.

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Hahahaha. OMG. You should been there. My first workout with the masters was a riot. More about that in a later post, but suffice it to say I wasn’t exactly a rock star. Almost immediately I realized some serious strength training would improve my swimming faster than anything else.Soooo, about a month back I added strength-training to my routine too, and bam! More power in the pool. Michael Phelps doesn’t have to worry about his record, but it is fun to see progress, however small.

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Any new regime is an opportunity for sewing new clothes, right? I am quite fond of this new workout top, Jalie 2444. I used two different colors of a wicking athletic fabric from Marcy Tilton, and love it as a top. It is sooooo soft and comfortable. I used a super stretchy 3-thread overlock stitch on my serger, with wooly nylon in the looper, and that stitch is very comfy against my skin. I have to confess tho, I am a little less enthusiastic about the pants. The softness that is so comfy and appealing in a top doesn’t work quite as well in pants, so this sew may become a donation.

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Yep, this is how I really look when I’m pumping iron! Lots of faces and groaning. 🙂

I’m excited to see what changes 2016 will bring me in terms of fitness and health. How about you? Any new plans or resolutions for 2016? <Insert standard warning to talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise routine, and do not take any advice from me. I am just sharing a bit of my exercise story>

Happy sewing! (and exercising!)

Maris

Psssst! Do head over to Free Notion and check out the other blog tour stops this week as well. And I’ll tell you more about the swimming thing later in the week.

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Sewing resolutions are….

…well, they are not for everyone.

I have tried them in the past. I have written lists of them. I have even reviewed them. Once, possibly twice throughout the year.

Why have I given up writing sewing resolutions?

Because even though teaching sewing is currently my profession, sewing is not work for me. Sewing is my joy. Sewing is my creative energy. It is how I express my love for my friends and family members. A custom-made shirt. A just-right twirly skirt. A law-office-appropriate knit dress.

So. I am in awe of all you spreadsheet-updating, image-Pinning, regular-reliable-documenting sewists. I do not have any resolutions for 2016. OK, maybe one. It would be great if I hemmed the living room curtains. They have been hanging for about five years. That seems long enough to settle the hem, right? 😉

Happy sewing!

Maris